What Makes a Good School? Selecting the right school is one of the most important steps in your martial arts journey. A good teacher aids your spiritual and physical well-being and promotes self-development, while a bad teacher can cause confusion or frustration and could even lead you to dangerous habits. Understand the factors that create a positive martial arts experience and find a school in Central Florida  that’s right for you!

Here are 5 traits of a great school:

  1. Understanding of you or your child’s goals – Are you looking for a place with strict instruction? Or are you looking for a fun way to get in shape? Some dojos emphasize competition, while others center around achieving personal goals. Knowing your own goals can help you narrow down which schools will be the best fit for you or your child.
  2. Well Suited to You – Look at different schools to get a varied perspective on teaching styles and training methods. Choose a style of teaching that matches the pace of your learning and is right for your experience level. Make sure to preview classes before you commit—take an introductory lesson or two if possible to know what you’re getting into!
  3. Good Environment and Location – Is the class run in a school gym or traditional dojo? Is the equipment outdated or overused? Is the location worth the drive? Make sure to choose a school with an environment where you feel comfortable spending a good portion of your time. 
  4. Supportive Attitude – Ask questions and talk to other students, parents, and instructors about their own feelings on a given dojo. You should look for an enjoyable atmosphere where people feel safe and treat each other with respect. 
  5. Look For High Quality Instruction – The instructor is the most important part of any dojo. You want someone with good interpersonal skills and an attitude focused not just the Art, but your own personal progress as well. They should also be well qualified and have a strong background in martial arts—you want your instructor to know what they’re teaching! A good teacher should maintain discipline in class while at the same time creating varied and fun lessons. Beware! Being a "master" in martial arts does not necessarily make someone a solid teacher. 

If you are looking for a great school in Central Florida, look no further than the Florida Budokan! The Florida Budokan is comprised of 3 dojos with the focus Karate (Makoto Dojo), Iaido (kashimon Dojo) and Kyudo (Seibukan Dojo). Any of these Dojos will strengthen you both physically and mentally and will put you on the path to achieving your personal improvement goals. If you are a beginner, don’t worry—we teach in a safe, systematic way, making sure our instruction fits your confidence level and your experience. Visit our dojo and watch a class to see if we are a good fit for you! If you like what you see, you can sign up for two free intro lessons with no obligation or commitment. When you’ve completed those lessons, you then have the option to become a member. If you’re looking for a karate (self Defense), Iaido (Japanese Swordsmanship) or Kyudo (Japanese Archery) in central Florida, the Florida Budokan can give you a quality martial arts (budo) education in a positive, supportive environment!

Where is the dojo Located?
The Dojo is located on the Geographic center of Florida at 37114 N. thrill Hill Road Eustis.  Please write Kashimon Dojo in your GPS and it will take you directly here. Inputting the house numbers will take you to a house located in front of our property with no access. Take the Driveway to the back past the front gate and the main house. As a private residence is located on the property, the gate is only open 30 minutes before classes start. The dojo is in the rear of the property behind the common building. Please park on the grass in front of the common building to the left of the paved driveway.

Can I try a few classes?
Potential students can try up to 3 classes at no cost before deciding to join the dojo. These classes can be divided into 1 of each Art  or all 3 in the same Art.

A word about taking classes versus joining a dojo.
We live in a consumer-oriented world--- it seems almost everything is for sale. When it comes to learning something, we expect to find a school, pay for classes and get what we pay for. This works if you are taking a course in college. You pay for a finite series of classes, buy the textbook, listen to the teacher explain the material, take the test and you complete the course---You got what you paid for. BUT a DOJO isn't a math class, the Sensei cannot be bought, the course never ends and the Way is not for sale.

Why are you a designated Nonprofit?
We believe that training in the Arts becomes muddied when "profit" is involved. Generally, schools that depend on enrollment numbers must maintain a steady flow of people by accepting anyone or by promoting unqualified students for retention in order to fulfill the needs of the business.  A Sensei isn't selling the Way therefore, he or she does not have customers. A dojo is not an enterprise designed to make money. It can certainly be run in a business like, professional manner and in some cases it may be prosperous. However, the fundamental intent of the Dojo differs from a business or academics. As we are a non-commercial and private organization, membership is subject to approval and promotion in Budo is determined in the same manner and tradition as prescribed in Japan. 

What are the minimum and maximum age for Practice?
 Although we do not have a maximum practice age, we limit the starting age for youth at 10.   We do not offer a after school childcare program.
Is Kyudo Physically Challenging?
 Yes and No. While executing the movements with proper form and mindfulness can be challenging, Kyudo can be practiced by just about anyone. Strength and stamina are not real issues when learning Kyudo. Even people who have knee, back, or shoulder problems can practice and excel in Kyudo. Each bow is tailored to the archer and thus will accommodate their physical ability. While the standard form in Kyudo is to sit in "Seiza” as a “Zasha” archer, the acceptable standing form is also practiced here called "Rissha”.
How long does it take to get good at Kyudo, Iaido or Karate?
 It takes most students several months to become minimally competent with the basic movements (Kihon / Shaho Hassetsu) in the Arts. The additional coordinated movements (Kata, Tai Hai) and shooting of Kyudo/ test cutting in Iaido will also take some time. You will then spend the rest of your life getting "good" at Arts.
Do you offer private classes?
Yes. Our private classes are during the day Monday thru Friday--- usually in the mornings. Private classes allow the student to move a bit quicker than in regular class due to the one on one instruction for about 45 minutes.

Where can I find a uniform?
We realize that most people will not want to purchase training attire before they know our training is right for them. Until then, it is best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing, such as jogging or yoga apparel.  Please do not wear shorts at the dojo. Please support Japanese shops by ordering directly from Japan below.
  • Karate uniform of your brand choice but, must be 12 or 14 oz- White, Heavy weight, can be purchased through Tokaido or  Amazon
  • Iaido uniform can be purchased through Tozando. Students can select any color of the kakeobi but the Iaido gi top must be white and the Hakama Black.
  • Kyudo uniform can be purchased through Sanbu.  Students can select any color of the obi but the Keiko gi top must be white and the Hakama Black.

Is there a ranking system in Kyudo?
Yes.  Students can test every year at various locations throughout the world for those qualified individuals wishing to test (Shinsa).  Testing may not be for everyone and is not necessary for continued practice in any of the Arts. Dai Nippon Kyudo Kai

What are the differences between traditional Japanese archery and western archery?
 Like western archery, Kyudo can be enjoyed as a sport that involves the act of shooting a bow and arrow. However, there are a few obvious differences:
First, western archery bows are symmetrical and Japanese bows are asymmetrical and oversized (almost 7 feet tall). One possible explanation for this is that the shorter bottom half of the Japanese bow, or Yumi, allowed for archers to shoot from side to side, while mounted on horseback (preventing them from being obstructed by the horse's neck). Another explanation has to do with the lessening of bow vibration with an off-center grip. Perhaps it is both.
A second, less obvious difference is the intent of practice. Western archery is almost exclusively concerned with hitting the target. While Kyudo is much more concerned with one's courtesy, mindfulness, and spirit while shooting. Form and Tai Hai are primary and executing the form properly results in the hitting of the target. Through regular practice, Kyudo can deepen our life experiences through self examination and develop a sense of respect for others.
Lastly, the two styles of archery look very different from one another, Japanese archery requires a specific uniform and practices a carefully coordinated prearranged form that essentially does not exist in western archery.
Does Kyudo have different Schools (Ryu)?
 Like other Japanese Budo, Kyudo has several different Ryu. The Kashimon Dojo at Arching Oaks practices the yosoku (mixed) form as outlined by the Dai Nippon Kyudo kai (DNKK).
What is Karate?
 Karate is a martial art that primarily involves punching, kicking and blocking. Practice consists of Kata (forms), Kihon (basic skills), and Kumite (sparring). It is an excellent Martial Art for teaching balance, distance, and timing and is very useful for self-defense. At the Kashimon dojo we also add break falling, takedowns, and throws as can be seen in specific Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido techniques. These additional techniques are not common in other traditional karate dojos.

What is Iaido?
 Iaido is a method of wielding the sword, one of the Japanese martial arts which has been practiced from ancient times to today. The I in Iaido refers to both the existence of the body and that of the spirit. The ai refers to adaptability, the impromptu meeting of persons and execution of movements whenever and wherever an appropriate response is necessary. The do refers to the path or way taken by its practitioners.
The practice of Iaido requires a calm spirit, extreme concentration, and skill. Every motion, such as the movements of arms and legs in coordination with the sword must be perfectly executed.
The physical practice of Iaido includes drawing, parrying, and cutting motions as well as methods of returning the sword to the scabbard. Training focuses on kata---Prearranged forms that are designed as defenses against an imaginary opponent and each consecutive form teaches several principles of correct sword handling and with more advanced movements.

Will we be cutting things with the Sword?
Yes. We also Practice Tameshigiri with our Iaido Class. As there is sparing in karate and shooting an arrow in Kyudo, we cut with the sword. The purpose of tameshigiri is to test the cutting ability of the sword, gain experience in striking a solid object, timing, distance, angle and grip.  The targets used consist of makiwara---tightly rolled tatami mats, with general uniform weight and thickness, which have been soaked in water. While kata teaches correct footwork and body movement, it is only by cutting an actual target that reveals whether or not the proper cutting technique is being used. 

.Which Martial Art (budo) should I study? What should I expect?
 The Samurai text Hagakure advises " there is a lesson to be learned from a downpour of rain. if you get caught in a cloud burst, you will still get drenched even though you hurry to take cover under overhanging roofs. If you are prepared to get wet from the start, the result is the same but with no hardship. This attitude can be applied to all things" . Ask yourself why are you interested in Budo? What are your goals and motivations? Are your expectations realistic?

The following considerations may provide you with some clues:

1. Are you an anime or martial art movie fan who wants to a martial art because it looks "cool"?
2. Do you enjoy the thrill of competition?
3. Do you want to learn how to defend yourself and stay fit?
​4. Are you interested in spirituality or traditional Japanese culture?

 All the Arts are easy to start and great for wellness and confidence. Although, If (1) is the first thing to come to your mind then, you may not last long. No doubt that Budo is cool but the practice is much harder than the romantic fantasy one may have. Budo is hard work and most of the time when you are slugging away at the dojo, the only "cool" thing you will want to do is take a cold shower. You will be hot, sweaty and even share some blood and tears. Through this trial of hard work is how you will become so much more than "Cool".

 If you can envision yourself wielding, cutting and/or competing with a sword then Iaido is best for you. If you like competition, a good workout and self defense, then Karate is your method. If you like things at a slower pace, being mindful with a sense of Zen then Kyudo is in your future.

The hardest thing about Budo is coming to class. Once you are here and start class, you will feel accomplished and glad you came.
Can I practice more than one Art?
Initially No. Once a student (Deshi) reaches shodan level (first degree black belt) in one Art then they will have the opportunity to study a second art/Dual class with instructor recommendation.

Is Kyudo/Karate/Iaido practice Safe?
 Safety is paramount in Budo practice and always the first objective. We have an excellent safety record due to the safety rules applied to the dojo. Our dojo is always under the supervision of the Dojo Cho and its safety conscious members. Stating this you may receive small bruises and the aches and pains you may get from exercise. All members are responsible and indeed encouraged for calling out any unsafe practice. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
What does Traditional Japanese Martial arts mean?
 It can mean many things, some obvious and some not so obvious. A few of the major aspects of a traditional dojo include: a verifiable lineage in a recognized historical style, a respectful atmosphere as well as observance of basic formalities and decorum, as well as active membership and authentic training with Japanese government recognized traditional Budo organizations and teachers.
Will we be bowing and saying things in Japanese?
 Yes. We feel that it is important to maintain the traditions of the Art in order to preserve its integrity and a mark of respect to the originators of Budo and its history. The various Arts practiced here use the same general terms but some terms may be specific to an individual Art.
The bowing is meant as a mark of respect to our Budo forefathers, the dojo, the instructor, and fellow students. It does not have any religious significance and the Japanese greet each other by bowing and is akin to a handshake or saluting in the military. Bowing in the dojo has no religious connotations and has functions of thanking or apologizing. Bowing may range from a small nod to a long 90-degree formal bow. You are supposed to bow deeper and longer than your opposite if they are of higher grade than you are. Your back and neck should be kept straight while bowing.
Another reason for bowing is a safety measure--- a physical pause that is used to put aside extraneous thoughts and focus on the current task.

How do I acquire the appropriate equipment like Arrows and Bow or practice sword?
 Our facility will provide basic equipment for new students until the student is ready and decides to invest in their own equipment as recommended by the sensei.
Is there anything I should know before I come?
 Yes. Please carefully read the entirety of this website and specifically, the Dojo Rules and Etiquette section.
Do you accept related “Dojo rank” from outside the organizations you belong to?
 This is a difficult question. Although, we would like to believe that all dojos maintain the same strict standards of policy and practice--- unfortunately this is not the case. Typically, Dojo rank is not recognized outside that particular single dojo. This means that your teacher gave you a grade that perhaps did not go through the checks and balances that are normally part of a robust international institution. (Black belt grades are usually tested in front of a panel of judges to prevent bias) This does not mean that you did not learn anything. It only means that since we do not know of your instructors rationale or standards of practice, we cannot fully accept your former dojo specific ranking. Individuals will be evaluated on a case by case basis for the opportunity to maintain their grade for a potential future lateral promotion in the same style--- Most students will start in the beginning grade.
When you say accreditation, what does that mean?
Good question. Martial Arts as a whole does not currently have a unilateral accrediting agency such as the U.S. Department of Education has instituted. Accreditation as defined by the U.S. Department of Education means that the college or university has “undergone a strict procedure of standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality”.
The closest thing to “accreditation” in the Japanese martial arts (Budo) is the organization being a verifiable Japanese government recognized nonprofit. This generally means that the folks that train you are not trying to make money from you by promoting everyone and charging fees after fee and guaranteeing rank for retention. Moreover, their government “recognition” says that they have filled out and submitted the proper forms for certain tax status by which the organization can be audited by said Government. Furthermore, Accreditation in this context means that the organization has a “voting board” equal to that of the “President” and can out vote if necessary in order to prevent power mongering and/or potential bias. In Addition, promotions are conducted by a panel of judges- thus the checks and balances.  Notably, the organization will also have clear written regulations, standards,  terms,  ethics policies and recording of meetings minutes that can be reviewed by membership.
A student should always do their due diligence in selecting a Dojo. An amazing amount of information is available on the internet. If persons in the organizational leadership have been found guilty in the US or Japan in civil (called Meiyokison in Japanese) or criminal court or have not met balanced "accreditation standards", you may want to rethink your membership.

A good Sensei travels as far as he can on Budo's path and if reaching a point he can go no further, then he acts as a bridge so his students can surpass him. In this way, his particular style will grow richer with each generation. Striving for mediocrity is to attain mediocrity, but to strive for perfection, however impossible, is to achieve greater progress. Failure to allow his students to surpass him means that the Art they have in common will decay over time.

Budo is a calling --- an incessant need to fulfill and impossible to resist way of life. This should never be taken lightly and seekers of the way should commit only when conducting their full verifiable and informed research.

Visiting Another Dojo
If you are visiting another dojo for first time.  You should not be surprised to find that they do things differently from your home dojo.  Etiquette and routine of practice is not standardized, and it may vary in subtle and possibly not so subtle ways.  So keep your mouth shut, observe carefully, and try your best to do as they do.  The key piece of advice is to watch what others do and to follow their example.
  • Start by getting there early.  If class has begun or is about to start do not attempt to join it unless invited to.  Most dojos will notice you and someone will be assigned to assist you.  If not just watch from outside the training area, but do not disrupt the class.
  • If time and opportunity allows, introduce yourself to the instructor and ask if you may practice.
  • Watch how they enter the training space, mimic how they do it.
  • The instructor will usually ask your rank and help direct you to the right place in the line.  If unable to talk to the instructor sit in the lowest position.  The lowest position is back row and to the left as you are facing the shomen.
  • Pay particular attention to the torei (bowing) at the beginning and end of the session.  Try to mimic the way they bow.
  • Put aside any idea that they are doing things ‘wrong’ because it is different.  For god’s sake avoid saying “but in my dojo we do it this way” or even worse trying to instruct their members, even if you are senior in your own dojo. 
  • If you receive instruction that is counter to the way you have been taught, try your best to follow that instruction for the class.  Embrace the concept you have learned something new.
  • If advice is offered, accept it gratefully, but again, do not ask for a critique or make excuses.
  • Never start practicing katas without permission from the instructor as it is insolent and potentially dangerous to those around you.
  • Try your best to never disrupt the flow of the class.
  • After practice, bowing out, quickly cross the dojo to thank all the instructors that you have trained with, starting with the most senior and working your way down the line.

To become a black belt to I have to be a Deshi?
Yes and no. The word Deshi means apprentice and is a title bestowed to the student which comes with responsibilities. This is different from a regular student (seito) in which the technical aspect of the art will only be taught. As in other professions and trades, we take apprenticing seriously--- As Deshi are preparing for Black Belt, they must sign an voluntary apprenticing agreement in order to begin to learn the intricate facets of becoming a dojo manager, technician and future Sensei. Managing and leading are a different disciplines than the technical.

How much is Dojo Membership?
We do not have contracts and operate on minimal operational costs. Every student is in a position of trust and keeping one's word and honor is at the center of our program. Your personal progression is in your hands and we will always be here to help and guide you on your journey.
  • All regular students should maintain a steady attendance
  • Life happens and student needs come first. If a student needs to withdraw from the dojo temporarily or permanently, please let the sensei know
  • Annual invitations will be sent to students who are welcome for continued practice
  • Donation contribution is recommended at the first week of the month. Donors can deduct their contribution under IRS section IRC 170. We are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under IRS section 2055, 2106 or 2522.
  • Tameshigiri tatami,  testing, seminars, equipment, uniforms, etc.,  are not part of monthly Donation
  • Cross training/dual class is available to Deshi who have reached shodan with recommendation
​*Persons with economic concerns should speak to their instructor. The inability to donate is not a reason to be absent.